Anyone remember Senator Rand Paul’s famous filibuster on the floor of the Senate as he stood against the confirmation of Muslim convert John Brennan as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency? Anyone remember what he was pointing out? That’s right. He was pointing out the use of drone strikes on US soil for assassination of US citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Guess what? North Dakota has become the first state in which police will use weaponized drones.
Bill 1328’s original sponsor, Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck), told The Daily Beast back in March of this year, “In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: drones should not be weaponized. Period.”
Becker’s bill was designed to limit the ability of law enforcement to weaponized drones and reiterated the fact that they would have to follow the law and obtain a search warrant before engaging in surveillance with the drone. However, it was the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association that sought to see the bill amended. They did so with the approval of the state house committee. They wanted the bill to allow for anything “less than lethal.”
What most people are not aware of is that police tasers, which are considered “less than lethal” have been used to kill nearly 40 Americans in 2015 alone, according to The Guardian.
According to Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost, his drones are only equipped with cameras for surveillance, but he doesn’t think he should obtain a warrant in order to engage in such surveillance, even though the Fourth Amendment is clear that is what is needed in order to do that.
Rost opposed Becker’s bill saying, “It was a bad bill to start with. We just thought the whole thing was ridiculous.”
Of course, criminal sheriffs and cops will think that bills that restrict them to the chains of law are “bad” and “ridiculous.”
However, he was not the only one that had a voice in stripping the bill of protections for the citizenry.
A wide group of lobbyists who benefited from stripping the provisions in the bill to protect the people included the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the director of the University of North Dakota’s drone program and a variety of other groups.
Keith Lund of the Grand Forks Regional Economic Development Corporation said during a hearing back in March, “It’s really all about the commercial development, which is where all of this is heading. If [a law] is somehow limiting commercial, law enforcement development… that is a negative in terms of companies looking and investing in opportunities in the state of North Dakota.”
Exactly right. These kinds of infringements are about two things: Money and control.
Zero Hedge adds:
And just in case you’re wondering why North Dakota rolled over so easily. The state is desperate for “economic growth,” even if that growth expands GDP via fascist panopticon surveillance.
Drones in North Dakota are a profitable enterprise in a state hit hard by the oil bust. Companies that market machines for agricultural and commercial use have been popping up in industrial parks on the outskirts of Grand Forks for the better part of the last three years. The university, one of the city’s largest employers, even offers a four-year degree in drones. The Air Force has partnered with the private sector to create a drone research and development park, too.
Drones are overwhelmingly seen as a good thing in North Dakota, which is perhaps why few noticed when HB 1328 passed with a clause allowing them to be armed with non-lethal weapons.
OK, I’m just going to come out and say it. I don’t know where in the Constitution, state constitutions or the Bible it is understood that police are a designated authority. They do not represent the people. They are hirelings for cities. Sheriffs, on the other hand, are elected and take an oath to abide by the guidelines of the federal and state constitutions. They are responsible to the people. So, it seems in this case, the people of North Dakota better wake up, or they may find the reality of what Rand Paul spoke about concerning the use of drones being use in a lethal fashion, which is the slippery slope when we considered how depraved men move in their thinking.